CNN reporter, crew arrested on live TV
Minnesota state police on Friday arrested CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his camera crew during a live report on the network’s morning program “New Day.”
The incident prompted immediate criticism and questions about why Jimenez and the crew faced arrest, especially as other crews from CNN and other networks were not arrested. Jimenez is black and Hispanic.
The CNN crew were released about an hour later after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) got involved. Walz also reportedly apologized over the incident.
The arrest itself was captured on camera and broadcast live by CNN, which had sent reporters to cover protests in the city in response to the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man.
“You’re under arrest,” one officer said in the middle of the report on the protests that have erupted in Minneapolis.
“OK, do you mind telling me why I’m under arrest? Why am I under arrest, sir?” Jimenez responded.
At that point another member of the CNN crew could be heard speaking off camera.
“You’re arresting him live on CNN. We told you before we’re with CNN,” the crew member stated as footage of the arrest rolled.
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020
Wow. Police in Minneapolis just arrested @OmarJimenez live on CNN. What is going on?? Our camera crew and Omar’s producer also now being arrested.
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) May 29, 2020
CNN reported that police said the Jimenez crew were arrested “because they were told to move and didn’t.”
Minnesota state police later released a statement on Twitter that sought to explain the actions.
“In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew,” reads the statement. “The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”
In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.
— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) May 29, 2020
CNN immediately pushed back at that explanation.
This is not accurate – our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists. We thank Minnesota @GovTimWalz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew. https://t.co/3cvtsqbbWz
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) May 29, 2020
On air, CNN anchors both reported on the actions by the police and criticized them.
“That is an American television reporter, Omar Jimenez, being led away by police officers. He clearly identified himself as a reporter,” “New Day” anchor John Berman said while showing the video.
“He was respectfully explaining to the state police that our CNN team was there and was moving away as they would request,” Berman said. “And for some reason, he was just taken into police custody live on television.”
After his release, Jimenez commented on the arrest.
“There seemed to be a little bit of confusion around what was allowed to happen,” he said. “The moment before the arrest actually happened, we saw one protester, or at least someone was not media, run past us … and after that person was apprehended, [police] turned toward us.”
“As far as the people leading me away, there was no animosity there. They weren’t violent with me. We were having a conversation about how crazy this week has been for every single part of the city. As I mentioned, a lot of people are already on edge.”
— Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) May 29, 2020
Jimenez joined CNN as a correspondent in 2017.
Updated at 9:38 a.m.